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Wisconsin Football 2024 Recruiting Class Makes Program History

The Badgers have reached the coveted blue-chip recruiting ratio in 2024.



Wisconsin football; Badgers head coach Luke Fickell vs. Minnesota
Wisconsin head coach Luke Fickell is shown during the second quarter of their game against Nebraska Saturday, November 18, 2023 at Camp Randall Stadium in Madison, Wisconsin.

Luke Fickell and the Wisconsin Badgers coaching staff achieved a feat on the recruiting trail the football program has never done before. 

In the latest update to the composite recruiting rankings, Badgers outside linebacker Thomas Heiberger from Sioux Falls, South Dakota, received a rating bump from a high three-star to a four-star prospect. 

What makes that particular rating bump so significant is that it now takes the Wisconsin Badgers recruiting class, which finished No. 23 nationally, to a 50% blue-chip ratio among the commits. 

Of the 22 players who put pen to paper with the Wisconsin football team on National Signing Day, 11 are now considered four-star recruits. 

Those four-star players for Wisconsin football are OT Kevin Heywood, TE Grant Stec, QB Mabrey Mettauer, OLB Thomas Heiberger, RB Dilin Jones, DL Ernest Willor, OG Emerson Mandell, S Xavier Lucas, RB Darrion Dupree, CB Omillio Agard, and DL Dillan Johnson. 

Wisconsin Football Reaching the 50% Recruiting Landmark Matters

Wisconsin Badgers football; head coach Luke Fickell leads the Badgers onto the field.

Sep 22, 2023; West Lafayette, Indiana, USA; Wisconsin Badgers head coach Luke Fickell waits to lead his team onto the field prior to the game at Ross-Ade Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Goddin-USA TODAY Sports

As mentioned, Luke Fickell and the Wisconsin football program finished with the No. 23 ranked recruiting class according to the composite. That’s the second-highest mark for the Badgers in the internet rankings era.

Wisconsin has never before achieved the feat of landing 11 blue-chip recruits in a single class, and the Badgers have also never had a 50% ratio among their commits since rankings began getting tracked.

You may be wondering why this particular stat matters. It’s because no program whose composite talent rankings up a 50% blue-chip ratio has ever won a National Championship. A few teams without that ratio have come close, but nobody has ever broken through.

So, as much as recruiting rankings don’t matter (which is true), they also matter to some degree.

Final Thoughts on the Wisconsin Badgers Recruiting Efforts 

Credit to Paul Chryst for bringing in the Wisconsin football program’s top-rated class in school history in 2021 (16th), but there’s no denying those recruiting efforts stalled out during the last couple of years under his leadership. Getting back on track like this was imperative to closing the talent gap with the Big Ten’s top programs.

It’s worth noting that the Badgers reaching this coveted milestone doesn’t suddenly mean they’ll be competing alongside the upper-echelon of football programs. Luke Fickell and company still have a long way to go in building a roster in their vision. Plus, this 50% blue chip ratio needs to become the standard for Wisconsin, not an outlier.

No matter how you slice it, this is a tremendous step in the right direction for the Wisconsin football program, and it’s encouraging to see what Fickell and his staff accomplished in their first full cycle.

If the Wisconsin Badgers can continue to stack talent on a national level and push towards a top 15-20 recruiting class mark, competing in the new Big Ten landscape will be much more manageable.

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Dillon Graff is a Substack Newsletter Best Selling Author and the Owner of, your go-to source for in-depth coverage of the Wisconsin Badgers. His work has been featured in top media publications like USA Today, Bleacher Report, Verbal Commits, B5Q, Saturday Blitz, and Fansided.